Trailing in a hotly contested primary race last September, U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Ciresi did what any candidate of means would do: He bought more airtime. Like all candidates for federal office, Ciresi was entitled to a steep discount on television ads. Under a 1971 law designed to prevent price gouging, TV stations are required to offer candidates the same low rates they give favored, bulk buyers such as car dealerships and fast-food chains. But when Ciresi went to purchase airtime for a 5:00 p.m. broadcast on WCCO-TV (Channel 4), he ended up forking over $685 a spot--nearly 50 percent above the station's lowest price for that time period. Ciresi chose not to use the fed's so-called Lowest Unit Cost system (LUC). He knew better. And... More >>>